Sonic Residue from Vapourspace

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To most listeners, it might not sound like the best idea in the world to combine the production skills of techno/ambient wunderkind Mark Gage (aka Vapourspace) with tracks from the catalog of the prog rock Magna Carta label. In fact, neither Gage nor label head Peter Morticelli was quite sure how to approach the idea either, at first. But when they finally did, the results were for the most part quite impressive. Gage takes guitar demigod Steve Morse's "Led On" through a gauntlet of Indian percussion and harsh synthesized semi-quavers, and adds techno grit and a rush of adrenalin to the mid-tempo funk groove of Attention Deficit's "Girl From Enchilada." "Dark Corners" by Bozzio Levin Stevens gets broken down from its jazzy and vaguely funky original into an abstract but still groove-based exercise in dub-wise electronica. Not every track works so well: there's a faint whiff of Kansas lingering about the Explorers Club's "Time Enough," and Gage's mix could have done more to dissipate it. Still, the high points greatly outnumber the disappointments on this fascinating album. Recommended.

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